It can be tough breaking into an industry known for its dog-eat-dog reputation, but a good attitude goes a long way – as long as it’s accompanied by talent. Based between Exeter and London, 22-year-old photographer Harry Cooke is taking on the fashion world with an open spirit, a sharp eye, and a pinch of salt.
“The fashion industry is a weird one – I am always hearing stories of bad experiences,” says the Arts University Bournemouth graduate. “But I always think the concepts, teams and shoots that I put together are relaxed and fun. Taking life too seriously is a dangerous thing, and that’s what I aim to bring to the world of fashion. Goodbye seriousness!”
This breezy, nonchalant attitude can be felt through his editorials and campaigns. Vivid and often tongue-in-cheek, Cooke’s striking images play with different characters. Fish-netted beauty queens and girls crying blood feature in a recent editorial entitled Comic Tragedy for independent fashion publication no substance, while other shoots such as The World Made Flesh for Just magazine concentrate more on colour, texture and form, hinting at his early beginnings in painting and sculpture.
This distinctive style has already attracted established brands such as Obey and Urban Outfitters, who Cooke names as clients, as well as publications such as Client, BLK CLR, and Just. In fact it’s his clear understanding of the collaborative effort involved in a successful fashion shoot has defined the young photographer’s career to date.
“There is so much talent in every area needed for a shoot, with everyone sharing the sole aim of creating beautiful imagery,” he says. “The perfect shoot is from 10am to 8pm, breaks in between, every look filled with food and laughs, a great team of creatives and preferably a daylight studio with the option to shoot outside.”
While fashion is his main area of focus for the moment, Cooke’s personal work also plays an important role when it comes to developing his style. “I love to walk around with my Canon AE 1, exploring places both near and far from home. I’m constantly trying to frame an image that works both as a photograph by itself and also as a background to a fashion image.”